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World's Most Important Travel Innovations

Five Travel Innovations We Could Do Without

Mini-Bar Sensors: Sure, you can have $12 Jelly Bellies or a $6 diet Coke anytime you want, but there’s nothing worse than finding a charge on your bill just for moving something.

Telephones in the Bathroom: Now that everyone has a cell phone, why do we need a receiver in the bathroom? Won’t we be too soapy or too busy doing…other things to answer it? And do we really want to touch it?

Ancillary Airline Charges: In 2008 American Airlines was the first to levy a fee for checked baggage, and almost every other domestic carrier (except, notably, Southwest and JetBlue) has followed suit. Now there are fees for boarding early (American), using the overhead bin (Spirit), and, soon enough, using the toilet (Ryanair).

Electronic Key Cards: The magnetic strip offers greater security than a key inscribed with a hotel-room number, but it seems to require more dexterity than most of us possess. And it’s sometimes deactivated if it touches your cell phone or credit card, sending you to the front desk for a replacement—with ID, of course.

In-Flight Cell Phones: The FCC currently prohibits mobile-phone use while airborne, but a number of foreign carriers, including Air New Zealand, Emirates, Royal Jordanian, and TAM, permit their use on some aircraft. If you thought having to converse with your seatmate was bad, wait until the inane discussions become one-sided. —Aimee Lee Ball


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